As the biggest country in the world, there are many magnificent places to visit in Russia.
By traveling, you will learn about Russian culture and become familiar with its history and traditions.
Russia is the largest country in the world, with terrain from tundra to desert to subtropical forest. Due to its sheer size, it is no surprise that there are many places to visit in Russia, including Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Vladivostok, for example.
There are also many places to travel in Russia that are remote and still relatively untouched by tourism, making them some of the best destinations to travel to in Russia.
Traveling in Russia holds many thrills for those who enjoy visiting a country with a rich cultural heritage and can also provide a new experience for tourists who may not have visited a Russian city before.
There are many cities to visit in Russia. Each can provide a new adventure or experience, from Moscow’s bustling and cosmopolitan capital to the popular holiday destination of Sochi to the untouched historical treasures of St. Petersburg.
1. Places to Visit In Russia: Lake Baikal
It would be best if you visited Lake Baikal in Russia first because it has a sheer amount of beauty that you should not miss. It is one of the deepest in the world and contains more water than any other lake on Earth. Also, it is the oldest lake that dates back over 25 million years.
Lake Baikal offers views of lush green forests and snow-covered mountains.
I recommend you go on a wildlife tour and hike around Lake Baikal. You will get to check out the various flora and fauna this way.
You can visit Lake Baikal during winter too, but summer is the season to go if you want the best outdoor experience. You can take a short swim in the lake or get your heart pumping by kayaking or going on a boat cruise during this time.
2. Places to Visit In Russia: Altay
The Altay region is one of the most diverse and untouched areas located in Southern Siberia. It’s a place where you can hike for hours without seeing a soul, despite being surrounded by some of the highest mountains in Siberia.
You can witness fantastic terrains that are surrounded by the Altay mountains, serene lakes, and meadows. It is the perfect place for a nature lover.
The Altay region is also famous for its wildlife. Altay is a protected area with biodiverse reserves that houses varieties of wildlife species such as argali mountain sheep and snow leopards. You can see it during a wildlife tour or fishing expedition.
Plus, this stunning landscape has a lot to offer to those who want to experience Russian culture first-hand. You can visit Altay during winter too, but exploring it during summers will give you the best outdoor experience you can have.
While you are exploring Altay, you can also go to Lake Teletskoye and take pictures for your Instagram.
Altai is truly a blessing not only for its scenic beauty but also for its therapeutic hot springs.
3. Places to Visit In Russia: Moscow
Moscow, Russia’s capital city, is a sprawling metropolis home to more than 12 million people. It’s a fascinating place to explore and offers something for everyone. If you want to check out the Kremlin and Red Square, it has those.
If you want to shop till you drop, it has that too. And if you like the arts, music, politics, or science, Moscow is your best bet.
Moscow takes pride in housing the arts and architecture from every era. The St. Basil’s Cathedral (that we will talk about in a separate section), an exciting building with multicolored towers that fascinate everyone, is located here.
While you are here, don’t miss out on visiting the Gulag and Cold War museums that hold the past stories.
4. Places to Visit In Russia: Red Square
The Red Square is one of the most recognizable places in Russia. It has been a place of military parades, protests, festive gatherings, and games.
Red Square is one of the best places to visit as a tourist. It has a lot of history and houses several vital attractions of Moscow like the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral, the State History Museum, GUM, and Lenin’s Mausoleum.
Exploring the Red Square in the evening would be a wonderful experience as the area lights up with colorful lights and there is always an event happening.
If you are visiting Russia during Christmas, make sure to ice-skate and attend Christmas workshops.
5. Places to Visit In Russia: St. Basil’s Cathedral
St. Basil’s Cathedral of Russia, also known as “The Cathedral of Intercession of the Virgin by the Moat” or “Pokrovsky Cathedral,” is beautiful and should be visited because it is one of the most recognizable buildings in the world. It is “a symbol of Russia that is known around the world.”
The cathedral has escaped demolition and undergone some extensive restoration. Now, it is a museum of history, architecture, politics, and religion.
This monument is a treat for the eyes. So if you are into religion, politics, or love architecture, visit St. Basil’s Cathedral.
6. Places to Visit In Russia: Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is a closed city located in the Far east, and it is the administrative center of Kamchatka Krai, Russia. The city is surrounded by volcanoes and cannot be reached by road.
Widely known as Petropavlovsk, the city is an exciting destination, especially for geology lovers. It is situated near the Avachinsky volcano, one of the most active and explosive volcanoes in the world.
You may think it is a bare place but trust me, it has lots of monuments and churches you can visit.
If you are not much of a geology fan, you can chill at the geysers and hot springs and learn about Soviet-era history. Also, you can go on a whale-watching tour.
7. Places to Visit In Russia: Sochi
Sochi is a city on the Black Sea coast of Russia. It is known for its beaches and marinas and as a winter sports destination.
Sochi hosted the 2014 Winter Olympic Games at the Rosa Khutor ski resort. This place has a world-class alpine skiing area, so if you love skiing, you know where to go.
The city hosts the Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix and has also hosted the 2018 Fifa World Cup.
Events aside, Sochi is also a great place to visit in Russia during the summer. It has excellent beaches and resorts sitting right on the Black Sea.
While you are in Sochi, you must visit the Sochi National Park, a 1,937 km protected area in the Caucasus Mountains. You can also visit the Caucasus State Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that houses several unique flora and fauna species.
Sochi has everything for everyone as you can go to a summer festival, relax at a spa, go shopping at the outdoor markets, and so much more.
8. Places to Visit In Russia: Kizhi Island
Kizhi Island is a quiet island that is declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is located near Lake Onega, in the north of Russia.
The city is known for its stunning wooden architecture and traditional crafts.
One of the most important attractions of Kizhi Island is the Kizhi State Open-Air Museum of History, Architecture, and Ethnography: a museum depicting the 18th-century life, culture, and entertainment of families.
Also, Kizhi Island houses the oldest wooden church called the Church of the Resurrection.
9. Places to Visit In Russia: Kazan
Kazan is known as the third capital of Russia as the living standard of this city is high. Here, the European and Asian cultures meet, due to which Kazan is sometimes called the Istanbul of Volga.
Visit the Kazan Kremlin, a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the tourist-favorite places of Russia. Kazan also houses one of the largest mosques in Europe called the Qolärif Mosque.
Soak in the view of Europe’s longest river, the Volga from Kazan, and try the authentic Tartar cuisine when you are here.
10. Places to Visit In Russia: The Golden Ring
The Golden Ring of Russia is a series of cities that offers travelers the opportunity to see some of the most famous Russian landmarks. The Golden Ring takes visitors on a historical and cultural trip around six of the most popular cities with ancient historical and cultural relevance; Rostov, Vladimir, Yaroslavl, Kostroma, Suzdal, and Ivanovo.
Most of the sites you will visit in the Golden Ring are protected by UNESCO as they date back to medieval times and have great value. Make sure to visit some museums and monasteries while visiting the cities of the Golden Ring as it is a non-miss.
Besides, you will be filled in awe with the quaint cottages in the countryside, the domes of monasteries, and the iconic churches.
11. Places to Visit In Russia: Shorsky National Park
Located in Eastern Russia, Shorsky National Park is a dense woodland trail that is excellent for hikes. It is considered one of the best natural attractions due to the variety of flora and fauna.
While exploring the national park, you may encounter wild animals like deer, wolves, brown bears, and lynx.
The natural beauty of the park is also admirable. The waterfalls, rugged and mountainous terrains, and beautiful cave formations all sum up the beauty of Shorsky National Park.
Besides hiking, you can also try other activities within the park, such as caving, boating, and horse riding.
12. Places to Visit In Russia: Limpopo Zoo
Limpopo Zoo is one of the best zoos in the nation and one of the best places for recreation.
Limpopo Zoo is the tourists’ favorite spot because the zoo houses various indigenous animals such as leopards, Amur tigers, apes, and kangaroos. They also have a variety of reptiles, fish, and bird species.
If you are tired of looking at animals, you can go on rides and get your children to the play areas for some fun. If you’re hungry, the zoo also has cafes that serve food and drinks.
13. Places to Visit In Russia: Irkutsk
Irkutsk is a city in Eastern Siberia, Russia, and one of the most famous stops on the Trans-Siberian Railway.
Lake Baikal is the world’s largest lake by volume and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Irkutsk is located on the southern shores of this lake. So, go to Irkutsk to visit this beautiful place.
Irkutsk city offers tourists much-needed relaxation in its parks, spas, markets, tea houses, and restaurants. Exploring this place will give you a blend of traditional and modern architecture and lifestyle. Go on walks to see the historical wooden houses and the Soviet block apartments.
You can shop, learn about culture, drink at a bar, or watch shows at a theatre. Irkutsk is a complete package!
Irkutsk has a significant role in Russia’s history as it was the place of several clashes between Russian factions in revolutions. It is where many intellectuals and artists spent their exile.
No wonder you will find many churches and universities in this area.
14. Places to Visit In Russia: Ruskeala, Karelia
Ruskeala, Karelia of Russia, is the most beautiful place to visit. Located four hours north of St. Petersburg, Ruskeala is bordered by Finland on the Blue Highway. The highway connects Norway, Finland, and Sweden with Russia.
Ruskeala used to be a marble mining center; now, it is renowned for its recreational spots.
Go on an underground tour of marble quarries at Ruskeala Mountain Park or boat the colorful marble lakes of the Ruskeala Marble Canyon.
Thus, Ruskeala has a great nature, and it’s worth visiting!
15. Places to Visit In Russia: Kenozersky National Park
Kenozersky National Park in northwestern Russia is a great place to visit. It was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve for its taiga forest and vast wetlands.
The Kenozersky National Park has beautiful villages, rugged hills, and old wooden chapels to make it more appealing. The scenic beauty of the national park is gloated by the charming lakes.
Make the best out of this national park by going on a boat excursion. If you are in the mood for an adrenaline-filled trip, then go for a hike or cycling. You will encounter many historical buildings on your way.
16. Places to Visit In Russia: Nizhny Novgorod
Nizhny Novgorod is a thriving historic city and one of the best places to visit in Russia. It is the fifth-largest city in Russia and is situated on the Volga and Oka rivers.
The city was once a fortress in the 13th century. History has it that the Archangel Cathedral was the only thing standing when the Bolsheviks destroyed Nizhny Novgorod. So when you are here, pay a visit to the cathedral.
Nizhny Novgorod is one of the most important cultural cities in Russia because it still preserves its historical architecture and design and is full of attractions for tourists.
There are more than 600 monuments and statues, 200 art museums, and concert halls. So many places to explore, right?
Another best thing about this place is that it is easily accessible. Transportation facilities like rail, airways, and cars are all available.
17. Places to Visit In Russia: The State Tretyakov Gallery
The State Tretyakov Gallery is an extensive museum complex. Pavel Aleksandrovich Tretyakov founded it in Moscow as a state gallery of art and history.
Tretyakov Gallery is a heaven for art lovers as the Gallery’s collections include fascinating 12th-century icons, and over 180,000 paintings, graphics, and sculptures.
It is a major Russian museum that will help you understand Russia’s history better.
18. Places to Visit In Russia: Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is known as Russia’s cultural capital and the second-largest city in Russia. It was once Russia’s imperial capital and was called Nyens, then Leningrad till it lastly settled for Saint Petersburg.
The city has had an eventful history and has left several iconic relics; thus, it is now the best city to know about Russia’s past. You can visit the old churches with magnificent architecture.
Or, if you are not feeling the historical drive, you can check out watersports and view some fine arts of the city.
Saint Petersburg also hosts a lot of concerts, so you may want to check that out too.
Visit the Moika Palace and the 19th-century St. Issac’s Cathedral. If you want to explore art and culture, go to the Hermitage Museum. It has over three million items of prehistoric art.
19. Places to Visit In Russia: Peterhof Palace
When you are touring in St. Petersburg, visiting the Peterhof Palace is a must. Located just 25 kilometers outside the city, Peterhof Palace is an excellent destination for a day trip.
The place was built in the early 1700s for Peter the Great as a summer residence. You will witness the grandeur of this ‘Russian Versailles.’
Yes, people call it so as it highly resembles France’s Palace of Versailles.
The palace has 24 rooms, each with its distinct theme and luxury. The furniture and walls of the palace are filled with silk tapestries.
Plus, there are tons of statues and frescoes in the hallways.
The palace’s ballroom will make you wonder how many royal dances it has hosted and what it would’ve felt like.
20. Places to Visit In Russia: Bolshoi Theatre
Bolshoi Theatre is the oldest theatre in Moscow and one of the finest ones in Russia. It is architecturally captivating, and so are its events.
The theatre hosts ballet and opera concerts. Historically, Bolshoi was an imperial theatre to the Russian empire. To date, only the best in the world perform at this theatre.
This six-tier auditorium has a lively atmosphere, and visiting this place is a must.
Is Russia safe to travel?
Like any other country, Russia is not totally crime-free. Tourists may face petty crimes like theft and pickpocketing at popular tourist sites like Moscow and Saint Petersburg and while using public transportation.
Some Russian authorities may not show interest in thoroughly investing in crimes, so it is best to stay cautious at all times. Do not leave your belongings anywhere, and pay special attention when walking in crowded/touristy sites.
All in all, Russia is not scary, as you may have heard. It is actually one of the most beautiful countries in the world that has so much to offer, historically, culturally, and naturally.
So here we have it, the 20 best places to visit in Russia. Tell us which places you are planning to visit when traveling to Russia.
If you have feedback or want to share your experiences traveling in Russia, feel free to comment below.